Hello from Gabon!
We have arrived safely back to Bongolo after being in the U.S. for our 1st Home Assignment. We so enjoyed connecting with as many of you as possible during our short summer Stateside!
We spent overnights in over 8 states, had 20+ support events with churches and individual supporters and put in 70+ hours of driving time.
You enveloped us with authentic friendship, generosity, prayer, support, hospitality and fantastic food! And we have absorbed it all and brought it with us to help fuel us for our second term here in Gabon.
We hit the ground running with a nursing school retreat one day after we landed at Bongolo.
The Fall trimester started directly afterwards. The students are taking Infectious Disease and the Respiratory System this trimester.
We had Taco and Brownie night -the students’ first time trying them. One of our students, Claude, finished eating with this contented smile on his face, pushed back his plate, sighed and turned to me and said,
“Madame, I now understand why the Americans suffer from obesity…”
I about fell off my chair.
The students had a deep time of connecting and renewing at the retreat under the Spirit-filled teaching of Jairus – a graduate from the nursing school who just retired from serving as a missionary nurse in Guinea for the past 14 years. He and his wife Adaline (also a nurse) are now serving with us here at Bongolo!
We are so thankful to the Lord for His provision through this faith-filled couple.
One day while working at the hospital I crossed paths with one of my former students from when I taught before, Gael, who is now working in a town a couple of hours away. He had transferred a trauma patient from his clinic to be treated here at Bongolo. It was such a delight to run into him and see him in action as a nurse now 6 years into his career!
And speaking of running into people. Some of you may remember the story of Eric – a young patient in his 20s in 2012 who had a work related fall from scaffolding and became a quadriplegic due to the injuries he sustained. He was a patient when I was here before that was in our ICU/Rehab unit for over a year. He had become a believer at Bongolo and I had started discipling him and he had begun to share his faith with other patients as they rotated in and out of the beds next to him.
I had gotten very close to his mom who stayed by his side to care for him the entire time. In 2013 Eric was well enough to return to his village with his mom and some adaptive equipment to return to his home life but now as a quadriplegic.
Unfortunately in December 2017, Eric passed away.
But last week as I was walking through the hospital, I saw Eric’s mom sitting on a bench, and I knew her immediately. We had a long, tearful greeting – the first time we had seen each other since Eric’s passing. We shared memories of Eric and she told me about where she is now.
It was a heart-filling reunion.
There are many good things happening on the Station in these weeks, like the supply container which was finally released from customs and arrived this past week, the team from Engineering Missions International who are helping us evaluate our limping water system for the Station, and a Team Retreat which will be taking place in a big city in Gabon next week.
Matthias will be starting preschool at the local school in town this Thursday! If you think of it, we would love prayer for him as he starts school and adjusts to a new routine. He will be going from 8-12 five days a week.
And this Friday night, we will be hosting all of the Nursing staff from the Surgical Ward where Amanda works at the hospital in our home for dinner. If you think of it, we would love prayer that the evening would be an authentic means of connecting in a deeper way with the staff, that our home and conversation would be an encouragement for each staff member and that it would bring deepened relationships with this department as we seek to pour into this area of the hospital.
Thank you for praying us back to Gabon!
It is a joy to be back here.
It feels right, normal and good.
Well maybe not the cockroach that crawled out of my bath towel and across me as I went to reach for it.
That didn’t feel normal.
And I’m ok with that.
But the water and power outages, the Black Mamba that Christopher added to his Snake-Kill list this past weekend and the pitter-patter of little red-dirt covered feet all feel very familiar.
We are grateful to get to pour out love and show Jesus through our everyday family-work life here in the Jungle.
Thank you for partnering with us and serving alongside us!
May the Father bless you and your loved ones as you pour out love and show Jesus through your everyday family-work life in whatever context you’re in.
Love from Gabon,
Christopher, Amanda, Matthias, & Cora
Cora was on top of looking for our bags at Baggage Claim in Libreville. It’s a little odd to watch your baby demonstrate correct baggage claim etiquette at one year old. Maybe we’ve traveled a bit in her life 🤷♀️ (Also that’s one of our carry-on suitcases that she was faithfully pushing at each layover next to her.) An oversized duffle on the baggage claim belt came and knocked her roller board a bit as it passed by, so she gently moved her roller board over a little so it would’t get bumped again and shook her finger at the oversized duffle as the baggage claim belt carried it on through the plastic curtains. 😆🧳